Times Colonist

Weekend crackdown helps maintain peace

A dozen extra officers go a long way

- JEFF BELL

Project Landscape weeded out its share of troublemak­ers on Victoria streets for a second weekend, and even stopped a domestic assault.

The Victoria Police Department initiative will be putting extra officers on duty for selected weekends until the end of the summer, said Sgt. Grant Hamilton.

The aim is to cut down on drunken fights and other disturbanc­es by adding patrols at key times.

A dozen extra officers were deployed throughout the city over the weekend, in addition to the 18 to 25 who work on an average weekend night shift. Hamilton said the early part of the past weekend’s evenings were spent in a customary preventive mode, dealing with people consuming alcohol in public places.

“We broke up several beach fires along Gonzales Beach and Dallas Road on both Friday and Saturday nights. Our Marine Response Unit worked with the Victoria Fire Department boat on the water, coordinati­ng enforcemen­t with the uniformed officers on land.”

A large party on Fleming Beach in Esquimalt was also shut down.

Officers moved into the downtown area later to concentrat­e on “the bar-closing crowd,” Hamilton said.

“This presence proved helpful on Friday night as our officers were on scene for a domestic assault, and an unprovoked attack on two other individual­s who stepped in to assist.”

A suspect was arrested and charged with three counts of assault. He was on bail for a previous spousal assault.

Hamilton said a major Saturday incident dealt with by the Project Landscape team involved a group of intoxicate­d young people at Moxie’s Classic Grill celebratin­g their graduation from Cowichan Senior Secondary.

He said an 18-year-old male in the group was arrested for being intoxicate­d in a public place and also found to be in possession of a large amount of ecstasy.

The youth is facing charges related to drug possession, Hamilton said.

He said the group had also hired a limousine that contained a considerab­le quantity of liquor.

“We will be pursuing this with the limousine company, and are considerin­g charges against the driver for having open liquor in a motor vehicle under the Liquor Control Licensing Act, and permitting a minor to consume liquor.”

Hamilton said police are finding their stepped-up presence is having a positive effect in controllin­g busy areas, as well as the activity at food outlets frequented by patrons leaving downtown bars.

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